Ep 20: IBD A and A Giveaway Part II

It’s time for an IBD Q and A Giveaway Part II. In our last podcast episode (#19 Part I in this series), we covered your biggest and boldest Crohn’s and colitis questions to help us all navigate the healing minefield we all face when we’re diagnosed with IBD.

Last week’s focus was IBD supplements and medications and today, we’re talking all things gut healing food- one of my favorite topics. You’re going to love these questions. They’re just as insightful as last weeks.

Remember our Wellbee’s Giveaway from last week?

We’re including it again this week, so everyone who submitted a question that gets aired on the episode, gets a free gift card to this outstanding SCD goodies paradise.

When it comes to IBD and food, there’s no better diet to mull over than SCD and GAPS. They’ve both been proven to be helpful at putting IBD into remission. Today, we’re deep diving into both of these diets.

We’re talking about:

  • SCD and GAPS: what’s the difference, is there a difference and is one better than the other for healing IBD?
  • The best options of food to start adding in when it’s time to move beyond SCD
  • Four store-bought Paleo foods that are worth buying for convenience as well as flava

And so much more!

After the episode, you’ll be crystal clear on the similarities and differences between SCD and GAPS. You’ll also have a whole plethora of gut healthy food ideas at your fingertips for when it’s time to move beyond SCD. Can you imagine being so healthy that you’re ready to move on? It’s all possible my friend. And this episode will give you the tools you need when you’re ready to move beyond.

Episode at a Glance:

  • [05:45] SCD and GAPS: What are they and how do they help Crohn’s and colitis?
  • [06:45] Is SCD and GAPS basically the same eating plans?
  • [08:15] If SCD and GAPS aren’t exactly the same, what’s the difference?
  • [15:05] Which of these diets allows you to eat chocolate.
  • [15:49] So which one should I try?
  • [18:24] The reason why nuts can be a problem for your intestinal healing.
  • [20:07] Is it ever possible to get off the SCD?
  • [26:36] The best foods to add in first when it’s time to go beyond SCD.
  • [28:57] The four best store-bought Paleo food brands to check out when you’re ready.
  • [034:22] Our free and fabulous IBD mom tribe is the Gut Love Community and you can join us there for the 411 on all things IBD related
  • [35:57] The best way to take your IBD healing journey to the next level.

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Mentioned in This Episode:

The Gut Love Community

The Cheeky Podcast for Moms Episode 12

The Cheeky Podcast for Moms Episode 19

Additional Resources from the Episode:


Simple Mills

Siete Foods

Primal Kitchen

Equal Exchange Chocolate

Against All Grain

Episode Transcript:


INTRO: You are listening to The Cheeky Podcast for Moms with IBD, a safe space for moms with Crohn’s and colitis, connect, explore powerful tools for healing and transform our lives to thrive in motherhood and in life. I’m your host, Karyn Haley, IBD health coach, integrative wellness enthusiast, and mom to three outstanding kids. After having Crohn’s disease for 30 years and working as a health advocate exclusively with IBD clients for the last 10 years, I know it’s time to bring the types of candid conversations I have with my clients out into the open. It’s our time to go on an IBD healing journey and do it like only a mom can. Let’s do this.


[0:51] Well hey, hey, hey. Welcome to the podcast. How’s it going for you today? It’s a beautiful winter wonderland where I live. The snow is falling gently, the kids are enjoying a snow day of sledding and snowman making and I’m cozy and warm in front of the fireplace and feeling gratitude for all of it. Ah yes, it’s February in Maryland. I hope you’re having a joyous and healthy day yourself.


Do you remember our topic last week? Our IBD Q and A Giveaway Part I episode? Last week, we started diving into the insightful, big, and bold questions you asked as part of our IBD Q and A Giveaway with gift cards to Wellbee’s, home of the finest SCD legal foods, and I know that to be true because it says so on their website and also because I’ve enjoyed their products for years.

This week, we’re tackling Part II of our IBD Q and A with two more insightful IBD related questions straight from you dear listener. Now, if you missed Part I, that’s OK because this episode can really stand on its own, but if you do have questions about Crohn’s or colitis, specifically how supplements and medications like biologics can be used to help your illness, you’ll want to go back to episode 19, and check that one out too.

Today will be much like last week, with the last 2 of our IBD questions coming directly from the mamas in our Gut Love Community. Remember, I asked the GLC tribe of moms “What are your most pressing concerns and challenges when it comes to IBD?” I got some great questions back and all of them are receiving personal responses from me, but only 4 questions, questions that got pulled randomly out of my crazy hat are being answered directly on the podcast… bonus points to you if you remember what the crazy hat I mentioned last week looks like. You go girl! It was an old red felt fedora hat from my dancing on the stage days. I’m waving a wand of bonus points for you if you remembered that fun fact from episode 19. Can you tell I’m immersed in Harry Potter again—for the third time, this time with my youngest. Wand talk fills our house. Maybe you can relate? Anyway, I’ll be answering the last 2 questions in the IBD Q and A series today. And if you’re question is one that made it on the podcast, you’ll be getting a surprise gift certificate to Wellbee’s sent your way very soon.

One last reminder, just like last week, all questions are being kept anonymous to protect the privacy of those asking the question. Today’s questions center around two of my favorite topics in the IBD space, heck, let’s be honest, two of my favorite topics in the whole world- the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (or SCD) and the Gut and Psychology Syndrome diet (or GAPS). Let’s get to it.


And here’s question #3 from our IBD Q and A.

Our GLC member writes: Karyn, I’m trying to decide between SCD and GAPS? I don’t really see the difference. Is there a difference and which one is better for colitis?

OK, I love this question so freakin’ much. It’s awesome. I’m just so impressed that you know about both and are considering these diets to help your IBD symptoms. These are the diets I work with most in my practice and I love them both.  Let’s start by making sure that everyone knows the basics of what we’re talking about before we dive into the similarities, the differences, and which one is better for you.

[05:45] So, both the SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet) and GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) are diets where you eat specific foods and stay away from others. Both diets have been shown to be helpful for those with IBD—so Crohn’s and colitis both. They help to lower the inflammation in your gut and whole body, boost your immune system to help with the autoimmune component of your disease, and bring your intestinal bacteria back into balance.

Win. Win. Win.

What I just gave your abut SCD and GAPS is very “view from above”—very general for what’s what in the world of SCD and GAPS. Let’s now dive in a bit deeper and talk about their similarities, because I can totally see why your confused here. I know others feel the same way too. On the surface, SCD and GAPS seem like exactly the same diet.


  • They both emphasize an eating plan that’s free of gluten, grains, refined sugar, and most dairy.
  • They both have been shown to work for those with IBD.
  • GAPS is so similar to SCD because it came out of SCD—it’s like a newer (not better, just newer) version of SCD. Think of it like a tried-and-true classic version of a board game vs a more modern version.
  • Both allow only specific types of carbohydrates to be eaten on the diet. These are monosaccharides—single molecule starches because they are easier to digest and absorb. Which means less sugar in your digestive tract and less sugar equals less bacterial imbalance and less inflammation.


[08:15] So what’s different about these two diets?

  • For starters, SCD has more research with case studies for IBD specially. Remember Elaine Gottschall, who popularized the diet with her Breaking the Vicious Cycle book, she used the diet successfully with her daughter who had Ulcerative Colitis.
  • GAPS is actually more touted as a healer for mental health and brain disorder challenges like depression, anxiety, ADHD, Schizophrenia, and Autism. It’s interesting that there’s an autism connection with SCD in Elaine BTVC book too. She mentions SCD helping those with Autism. Possibly Natasha Campbell McBride saw that SCD helped for Autism and then took it further with other mental health and brain disorders. I’ll have to ask her if I ever get the chance…
  • SCD is not as focused on organic, local, sustainable food as GAPS. Elaine spoke only briefly about organic food saying that she wanted this diet to be accessible to all. I believe if Elaine were alive today and she would see how much organic food has become more mainstream, and she would talk about that as well—but that’s just my guess.
  • While some sort of broth is crucial to both diet plans, the GAPS diet asks you to consume meat stock while the SCD has you preparing chicken soup. Both are very similar. Natasha Campbell-McBride, the GAPS creator, talks about how meat stock is best to get you into remission while the chicken stock or bone broth is more for maintenance. I usually recommend the meat stock version to my clients, but I didn’t know about it 12 years ago and I achieved remission using the SCD chicken soup. I think both are so similar and are great for gut healing.
  • GAPS has more defined stages in the beginning, 6 of them, where SCD is more about an intro diet before jumping in. Here’s the thing though, I never do SCD without some sort of stages with my clients. I have lots of mamas who come to me for coaching after jumping into SCD, and it not giving them the best results. When we take a step back and come up with a stages plan for their SCD, it tends to work much better. So yes, the GAPS does have more defined stages, but I never recommend doing SCD without staging it. I just see if working so much better when you add foods in slowly.
  • Also, while the homemade fermented yogurt you may have heard about with GAPS and SCD is a crucial part of IBD healing, the GAPS diet waits to introduce the yogurt until some healing has taken place. Some people are sensitive to dairy (even lactose free dairy) until some intestinal healing has taken place, so with GAPS, you wait. And just a side note in case you’re thinking about yogurt, but not wanting to use dairy, there are non-dairy options for yogurt. Email me if you need a recipe or go to episode #12 I talk all about non-dairy yogurt there. I’ll link to it in the show notes.
  • GAPS has more of an emphasis on probiotic rich, fermented foods than SCD. And it’s not just the yogurt. There’s kefir, sauerkraut and eventually fermented veggies. SCD is all about the yogurt and probiotic supplements.
  • And speaking of kefir, kefir is allowed on GAPS but not on SCD. Also with regard to probiotics, SCD does not allow the bifido strain of probiotics while GAPS does.
  • Perhaps the most interesting difference in my opinion, is that it’s like SCD is more about eliminating the pathogenic bacteria and GAPS more about introducing healing bacteria into the gut. I find that difference really interesting. Subtle, but there nonetheless.
  • Perhaps the saddest of all the foods SCD does not allow is chocolate, even in its healthiest raw cacao form. Various reasons come into play for not allowing in on SCD like the fact that it is linked to cocaine, that it’s addictive, that it may suppress the immune system. While SCD stays away from chocolate later stages of GAPS does allow for high quality dark chocolate. And I do have to say that although 12 years ago when I faithfully followed SCD for 2 years with fanatical adherence, the first thing I added back into my diet was raw cacao and dark chocolate. Addiction be damned. That’s an addiction I’ll own.

See how there’s actually quite a few differences when you look very closely? Subtle differences, but ones that might help you to decide which diet is best for you.


[15:49] When it comes to which diet is better and which one I recommend for IBDer’s, you’re going to hate my answer here, but I don’t recommend one over the other. My favorite thing to do with clients is a combo approach where we take the best of each plan. Over the years, I’ve created and tweaked an approach that incorporates both, so personally, I don’t think you have to pick one over the other. I think you can pick the best of both diets and be really successful.

If you want to do that, use both diets to your IBD advantage, your first step is to get a copy of Breaking the Vicious Cycle by Elaine Gottschall and a copy of Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride. Read them both and see what you like and what you don’t like about about these diets. See how you can combine them into the best gut healing diet for you.

Remember, if you find the idea of all that research overwhelming, I’ve already done a lot of the legwork for you. Know that if you want help with how to best make this work for you, I’m here to help. Reach out and let’s chat about it.

If you’re strictly a purest and you want to pick only one diet—SCD or GAPS—that’s fine too. Remember, they are so similar. My guess is that you will find some level of success with either one. They both have proven results when it comes to IBD, even GAPS.

I do have a bit of advice for you though. No matter which one you choose, keep your emphasis on nutrient dense food– organic veggies, grass fed meat, local food sources, choose pastured or farm raised eggs, use the healthy fats in either diet liberally to help your gut heal, and perhaps most importantly, stay away from too much nut flour. You should not be having an almond flour cookie or muffin or pancake with every meal. It’s just too many nuts and nuts can be inflammatory and keep you from full and lasting healing. I see a lot of problems with moms who do this. It can be reversed, but it’s best to start off on the right foot, right from the beginning.

So go for it, go for it with SCD or GAPS, knowing that tweaking, pivoting, and do it with your own symptoms and lifestyle in mind. This is always the way to go in any diet you choose.


[20:07] Question #4 The last question. And this is an SCD specific one.

When it’s time to move on from SCD, what should I try?

Another fabulous question and congrats that you’ve made it this far! Seriously incredible. I know first-hand just how difficult it is to stay on the SCD, but you did it lady and now you’re ready to come off. Awesome!

Over the last several years, I’ve had the pleasure of clients coming back to me a year or two years after we’ve finished our coaching together to say, “Karyn, I’m ready to add in more foods, can I do that?” This is one of my favorite conversations to have. It means the diet has worked for you, you’ve sustained your remission, and you’re ready to see what’s around the bend for your diet and your future. After many conversations with rock star clients who are at this place on their healing journey, I’ve developed a list of go-to foods you’ll want to try when it’s time to branch out with your food choices and dip a toe into new remission sustaining waters.

Now I know most of you who listen to my podcast aren’t here yet. You’re in the trenches, still trying to figure out how to bust that flare, but I still believe this information will be beneficial for you. There’s no one talking about what happens after diets like SCD (or GAPS for that matter) so this is truly valuable information. So whether you’re ready for that step now, or you’re going to tuck this information away until the time is right, know that I have every confidence you will get there. Keep fighting. Keep tweaking and try new things. Keep faith in yourself and you will get there mom friend.

So you’re ready to try adding in some new foods after SCD and you don’t want to risk a flare. First, know that SCD is nutritious and sustainable so you can stay on it as long as you want. Usually, I see moms stay on this diet about 1 year after their last symptom is felt. That could be 1 ½- to let’s say 7 years—a while. But if you’ve been feeling well for quite some time and you’re bored with your eating plan, what should you add in first?

Well, first you might want to go back to some of those foods on SCD that didn’t work for you in the past. Mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers, squash… those are foods I hear about not working often. What didn’t work for you in the early stages of the diet? Feel free to try these foods before moving on completely. They may or may not work for you. And you’ll know they don’t if you experience unexplained diarrhea, bloating, gas, rashes, a headache… there’s way too many symptoms to mention here, but if you have an unexplainable reaction after all this time, you have a really strong food sensitivity, and that food is just not in the cards for you. Remember you can be sensitive to a food AND be in remission. Sometimes there’s just foods that will never work for you, no matter how healthy you are. For me, it’s peppers with skin. Roasted peppers with no skin, no problem. When I eat the skin, all hell breaks loose.

After you’ve tried some of the SCD legal foods that may not have worked in the past, it’s time to try some SCD illegals—healthy foods you just weren’t ready for before.


My top go-to right out of the gate is quinoa—that easiest to digest ancient grain that’s a great source of fiber, protein, as well as antioxidants and minerals like magnesium, iron, and zinc. I love it because it’s a great first grain after being off them for so long. It’s a great first option due to it being easier to digest than other grains.

I do recommend soaking your quinoa first to breakdown the phytic acid and to predigest the starches also for easier digestion. My clients who do this usually fair better in their first grain foray after SCD.


[26:36] How about sweet potatoes, maybe white potatoes in very limited quantity as they are more starchy than sweet potatoes. My personal post SCD treat was chocolate—raw cacao. But dark chocolate is great too. A company called Equal Exchange makes several great dark chocolate bars. Look for around 70-90% cacao. You are welcome to adopt my motto, a square a day keeps the doctor away, or that’s at least what I like to think.

Maple syrup can be on your list of things to try as well. Raw milk if you have a farmer you trust or organic heavy cream as cream is the lowest in lactose. Some of my clients do well on rice. Basmati is the easiest to digest. Again, I would soak that first to breakdown the fibers.


[28:57] If these new foods go well, you might want to venture out into a few types of pre-made paleo foods. I’d say branch out into pre-made SCD food, but you’ll just never see that at the grocery store. Thankfully though packaged Paleo food is available at the grocery store now and it can open a whole amazing world of gut healthy convenience for you when you’re ready. None of this was available to me 10 years ago, but the world of store-bought grain free and paleo has exploded.

Some of my favorite grain free brands include a bread company called Against the Grain. They’ve got delicious baguettes, bagels, rolls, pizza crust… They’ve recently also added cake and brownie mixes too. There’s another grain free company I love called Primal Kitchen. They have loads of options, but my favorite are their salad dressings and marinades. Siete Foods is also fantastic. Their corn free tortilla chips and cashew made queso dip is to die for.

I’ll leave you with one last store-bought healthy option when you’re ready to branch out. And that’s Simple Mills. Simple Mills is one of my favorites. Crackers and package mixes to make things like focaccia bread and cookies are all just a grocery store purchase away.

While I wouldn’t make any of these pre-made store bought foods the primary foods in my diet, it’s great to know store bought, convenience options are out there for occasional use.

Oh, and one last thought I just had, if you want to go really crazy and branch out from the grain free world, and that’s homemade sourdough bread. It’s a tasty and healthy option. If your gut is ready for this more traditional flour, the bacterial benefits of fermented bread can help keep a bacterial balance in your gut. Again, it’s not something you need to eat every day, but it’s a nice treat every now and again.  With sourdough, it’s best to get a starter from a friend or buy one and make your own. Store bought sourdough usually much more processed and doesn’t have the same benefit as it’s not made in the traditional sourdough starter way.

Hopefully those few suggestions will get you started on the Beyond SCD path and I hope your health continues to shine dear one. Remember, it’s absolutely fine if you’re not there yet. Most of us aren’t. I branch out with a few of these foods on my diet, but many of these, I still don’t tolerate. Grains are my kryptonite and so I’d never be caught dead with sourdough bread. Maybe one day.

OK my darling, that’s a wrap on all four questions in our 2-part series: IBD Q and A Giveaway. Remember, if you’re question was called out during the broadcast, you’re walking away with an awesome gift card to Wellbee’s, your #1 source for all things SCD and gut health goodies. Enjoy and let me know what you get please!

I have to give a huge, special shout out and thanks to all the moms in our fantastic, amazing, super community, the Gut Love Community. This is the place where these IBD questions came pouring in from. The GLC is the place to be if you want to be able to take part in Q and A’s and giveaways like this one. It’s the place to be if you want a safe space for mom-focused, mom-centered conversations about Crohn’s and colitis. It’s the place to be for free and fabulous advice, tips, tricks, recipes, and resources. Join us with the link in the show notes. I can’t wait to meet you there!

Until next week, I’m wishing you a cheeky and healthy IBD healing journey.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.T his is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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